The book’s charming paintings will draw in animal lovers, and the poems’ catchy, irregular rhythms will encourage recitation.

WHAT DOG IS THAT?

Australian author Lois Nicholls (Bye-bye Bikini, 2018, etc.) and illustrator Lara Nicholls (Aussie, Actually, 2012), a mother-daughter team, celebrate lovable canines in rhyme in their picture book.

Tarna, a golden retriever, pals around with her human friend until he realizes that the dog’s gotten “quite smelly”—possibly from being in the paddock past the pond. Kane, a Great Dane, is “Not a pony...that’s BALONEY!” In nine rhyming poems with full-color paintings, the Nichollses introduce readers to a range of different dogs. The pups are of varied breeds, including apparent daisy-dog mutts and a goldendoodle (aka a groodle) as well as a more common Jack Russell terrier and a beagle. They all have diverse personalities and expressions: French bulldog Philippe loves cafes and “bling”; beagle Bonny is an adventurous traveler. The paintings are realistic and endearing, and each features a tiny bee for hidden-object searchers. The poems have intriguingly offbeat rhyme schemes; they may require practice for proper emphasis when read aloud. Some words are italicized, boldfaced, or capitalized, a distracting device that may confuse some newly independent readers. Vocabulary terms such as “torte” are defined in footnotes while other potentially unfamiliar words, such as the aforementioned “paddock,” are left unexplained.

The book’s charming paintings will draw in animal lovers, and the poems’ catchy, irregular rhythms will encourage recitation.

Pub Date: May 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-9804868-6-5

Page Count: 24

Publisher: bee kind press

Review Posted Online: July 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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THE GIRL WHO LOVED WILD HORSES

            There are many parallel legends – the seal women, for example, with their strange sad longings – but none is more direct than this American Indian story of a girl who is carried away in a horses’ stampede…to ride thenceforth by the side of a beautiful stallion who leads the wild horses.  The girl had always loved horses, and seemed to understand them “in a special way”; a year after her disappearance her people find her riding beside the stallion, calf in tow, and take her home despite his strong resistance.  But she is unhappy and returns to the stallion; after that, a beautiful mare is seen riding always beside him.  Goble tells the story soberly, allowing it to settle, to find its own level.  The illustrations are in the familiar striking Goble style, but softened out here and there with masses of flowers and foliage – suitable perhaps for the switch in subject matter from war to love, but we miss the spanking clean design of Custer’s Last Battle and The Fetterman Fight.          6-7

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1978

ISBN: 0689845049

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1978

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A rollicking tale of rivalry.

IT HAPPENED ON SWEET STREET

Sweet Street had just one baker, Monsieur Oliphant, until two new confectionists move in, bringing a sugar rush of competition and customers.

First comes “Cookie Concocter par excellence” Mademoiselle Fee and then a pie maker, who opens “the divine Patisserie Clotilde!” With each new arrival to Sweet Street, rivalries mount and lines of hungry treat lovers lengthen. Children will delight in thinking about an abundance of gingerbread cookies, teetering, towering cakes, and blackbird pies. Wonderfully eccentric line-and-watercolor illustrations (with whites and marbled pastels like frosting) appeal too. Fine linework lends specificity to an off-kilter world in which buildings tilt at wacky angles and odd-looking (exclusively pale) people walk about, their pantaloons, ruffles, long torsos, and twiglike arms, legs, and fingers distinguishing them as wonderfully idiosyncratic. Rotund Monsieur Oliphant’s periwinkle complexion, flapping ears, and elongated nose make him look remarkably like an elephant while the women confectionists appear clownlike, with exaggerated lips, extravagantly lashed eyes, and voluminous clothes. French idioms surface intermittently, adding a certain je ne sais quoi. Embedded rhymes contribute to a bouncing, playful narrative too: “He layered them and cherried them and married people on them.” Tension builds as the cul de sac grows more congested with sweet-makers, competition, frustration, and customers. When the inevitable, fantastically messy food fight occurs, an observant child finds a sweet solution amid the delicious detritus.

A rollicking tale of rivalry. (Picture book. 4-8 )

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-101-91885-2

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Tundra Books

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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